Chamber Member Spotlight - Kansas Wetlands Education Center
Check out our Chamber Member Spotlight this week!
Kansas Wetlands Education Center
Curtis Wolf, the Director, was interviewed by us. We are blessed with all the educational possibilities the Kansas Wetlands Education Center brings. They recently completed new interactive exhibits. We are excited to have Kansas Wetlands Education Center join us again as Chamber Members for 2019! We are lucky to have a wonderful place that showcases our area.
Check out all the programs KWEC provides!
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Kansas Wetlands Education Center
592 NE K-156 HWY
Great Bend, KS 67530
When did you come to Ellinwood for business?
The Kansas Wetlands Education Center opened April 2009. We will celebrate our 10 year anniversary this coming Spring!
What makes your business unique?
We are operated by Fort Hays State University. We are the one-stop shop for basically every visitor to Cheyenne Bottoms. Cheyenne Bottoms is such a unique resource for this region, and we get people from all over that come here to see it. The Center is here to help all users of Cheyenne Bottoms, whether that is school kids, locals, out-of-towners, birdwatchers, hunters, photographers, nature enthusiasts, or tourists. Our Center has some great, new, interactive exhibits. We also have about 30 species of live program animals to see and a nice nature trail that is open to the public. We offer a diverse set of public programs on a wide variety of nature topics, from nature crafts to star gazing. Last year we offered over 600 total programs. We organize several popular special events, like our Butterfly Festival, Wild Goose Chase 3k/5k Fun Run, Wings & Wetlands Birding Festival, Hunter Appreciation Breakfast, and Holiday Open House to name a few. We also offer guided van tours of Cheyenne Bottoms. KWEC has a great gift store with many unique nature related gifts and even quite a few local art pieces. Best of all, there is no admission fee and the majority of our programs are all free!
What is your career path?
We have a relatively small staff with 5 full-time employees, 4 FHSU graduate students, and 1 part-time seasonal employee. All of us have a love and passion for environmental education. One of our main goals is to make people more aware of the natural resources around them, even in their own backyards. Even after almost 10 years, we still have local visitors almost weekly that say they’ve never visited KWEC or Cheyenne Bottoms.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Several of the employees live in the Ellinwood area and are active in numerous community groups.
Upcoming Events at the Wetlands
March 21 - April 27 --- Greater Prairie Chicken Lek Tours - Join the Kansas Wetlands Education Center staff on this interesting Springtime show on the prairie. Male Greater Prairie Chickens show up daily on communal breeding grounds, called a lek, to boom, dance, and fight all in an attempt to mate. Staff will take you to a local lek to watch this show from an enclosed blind. Tours are only offered on select dates. Spots are limited and reservations are required. Cost for the tours is $35 per person.
April 13 --- Biosphere Block Party - Celebrate Mother Earth at the Biosphere Block Party! This is a FREE come and go event. Registration is required for rain barrel building, all other activities do not require registration.
May 3/4 --- Wings and Wetlands Festival - Mark your calendars for this 2-day festival to improve your shorebird watching skills at two of the best birding spots in the Midwest. Experienced guides will take you on multiple field trips to Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge during peak shorebird migration. Greater prairie-chicken lek viewing opportunities will also be available. The early registration fee will be $175.00.
KWEC has a nice website, with a lot of good information about their events, facility, and what there is to do at Cheyenne Bottoms. They also send out a monthly e-newsletter that tells about all the upcoming events at KWEC. If you would like to be added to their newsletter, please call the Center at 877-243-9268 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on future events, visit their Facebook page and website!